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CLTS is an innovative methodology to achieve and sustain open defecation free (ODF) status.

Although Viet Nam has gained substantial achievements in water supply, progress in sanitation and hygiene is still lagging far behind. According to a national survey on rural sanitation in Viet Nam conducted by MOH in 2006, about 75% of rural households have access to latrines, of which only 18% meet the MOH’s standards. Open defecation is still a common practice in many rural areas.

UNICEF Viet Nam continues supporting the government in its efforts to achieve national and sub-national objectives in rural water supply and sanitation, with a particular focus on sanitation and hygiene behaviour change for poor and ethnic minority communities. In its effort in advancing sanitation and hygiene UNICEF and its counterparts are adapting and piloting community-led total sanitation (CLTS), a sanitation approach that have been approved successful in many other countries.

CLTS is an innovative methodology to achieve and sustain open defecation free (ODF) status. CLTS entails the facilitation of a community’s analysis of their sanitation situation, their defecation practices and the consequences of these, leading to collective action to become ODF. Unlike other sanitation approaches that involve provision of subsidies in cash and/or hardware to households and concentrate much on latrine construction, CLTS focuses on dynamics of community behavior change in sanitation.

In 2009 UNICEF and its central counterpart, Vietnam Administration for Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health (VAPM), MOH, piloted CLTS in 6 villages of Na Tau commune, Dien Bien district, Dien Bien province and 6 villages of Ia Xier and Sa Binh communes of Sa Thay district, Kon Tum province. The process started with an initial planning phase, followed by TOT training for provincial and district staff and training of commune and village facilitators. Triggering was conducted with subsequent post triggering and follow up activities. Encouraging progress has been achieved with 100% of piloting communities in Dien Bien declaring ODF and a promising result in Kon Tum. Although CLTS in Kon Tum is not at the same level as in Dien Bien, piloting communities are committing toward ODF by the end of 2010. 

Taking the momentum that has been gained, in 2010 UNICEF and its central and provincial counterparts are expanding CLTS to other 10 districts of the five provinces of Dien Bien, Ninh Thuan, Kon Tum, An Giang, and Dong Thap. In addition, rural sanitation marketing and school-led total sanitation will also be integrated in piloting areas. Although the number of piloting provinces is small, they are partly representative for the three typical regions of Viet Nam. Evaluation of the pilot will be conducted by UNICEF and counterparts for lessons learned and scaling up.   (Source: Nguyen Van Son, PCFP Program, UNICEF Viet Nam).



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